We continue our series on Women In Business where we highlight a wide variety of businesses that are owned and operated by women all around the country. Our goal is to learn from, inspire, motivate and celebrate this strong, unique, and diverse group of women.
Our spotlight today is on Loretta Holmberg, owner of Polite Pups Academy, LLC. Here’s what she told us.
What is your company?
Polite Pups Academy, LLC, dog training based in Baltimore, MD.
When was your company founded?
I validated my idea to start my company in late 2019 and had initial ‘clients’ then. Officially, the business started in 2020.
What inspired you to form your own company?
I started Polite Pups Academy, LLC because I really enjoyed training dogs and helping owners train their dogs so that their dogs can live thei best lives! I had been helping to train owners and their dogs pro bono in my capacity as the Adoption Coordinator for World Animal Guardians, a non-profit resuce.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is watching the relationship bond between an owner and their dog grow stronger as a result of training. Generally, being around dogs puts a smile on my face.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job is when owners who are training their dogs do not follow the exact step-by-step procedure or put in the daily consistent work that I teach for a particular skill that they want their dogs to mater. They don’t get the result and then wonder why they aren’t getting the desired result. And sometimes they give up and do not continue. It breaks my heart when they don’t continue because then their dogs aren’t getting the training they should be getting.
Have you found that being a woman owned business has helped your business?
Since I am still new to the business world, I have not really experienced this.
What are some obstacles that you’ve encountered being a minority business owner?
At the moment, I have not encountered any obstacles yet. But again, I am still new to the business world.
What is one piece of advice that someone gave you early on that you found to be invaluable.
Get Quickbooks online and start from day one.
What is one piece of advice that would you give to someone that is thinking of starting their own business?
Get a Facebook business page and connect it with Instagram! It’s free advertising. You can talk about your business, what you do, and the public will get to know more about you and build trust with you that way.
What is one mistake that you made early on that you would re-do if given the chance?
Pricing the service that I provided way below average rate.
What is one future goal that you have for the business?
I am working on scaling up my business in the online world and in being able to reach dog owners everywhere in the US and the world at large. My goal is to be able to teach 300 dog owners online per year (my course is offered 4 times a year).
Who has inspired you the most in your business?
My late aunt in Singapore was instrumental in my ‘can do’ and ‘take a risk’ attitude. For the most of her adult life, she was wheelchair bound but that never stopped her from having various businesses and running them successfully with glee!
How has the pandemic affected your business?
Dut to the pandemic, I started having more online clients. So , it has not affected my business. Also, I worked with lots of ‘pandemic puppies’ and their owners.
On days that are particularly hard with the business, what keeps you going?
What keeps me going is knowing that I can help make a difference in the lives of dogs and their owners.
If you weren’t a dog trainer, what would you be?
So, Polite Pups Academy, LLC is not my main gig! It’s a side business, a side hustle of sorts! My main work that I do love and enjoy doing is being a lecturer at Loyola University Maryland. I enjoy working with undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Education. However, I have to admit that I do love working with dogs and seeing them thrive! I also do Board n Train dogs in the summer months.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
I hope to servce a lot more online cleitns in the next 5 years. I offer my online course, “From Fearful Fido to Confidence Canine” 4 times a year and I hope to have more clients each time. I deliver the course online via pre-recored videos on my course password protected website. I then meet with my clients in a private Facebook group for live Q/A sessions twice a week. Additionally, those that sign up for my VIP program also get an additional 60 minute group seesion with me on Zoom for training. I also still do some face to face one-on-one sessions here in Maryland, but they are limited to just the weekends. I see my business thriving in 5 years still because people are going to still have dogs then!
What would you like people to know about your business?
That I started my business because my first two dogs were dogs with extreme reactivity to other dogs. I found a way to manage their behavior and that has helped our lives so much that I would love to help other dog owners. Folks with reactive dogs do not have to live a cloistered life!
What is something that everyone told you/warned you/shared with you about owning your own business that is not true?
I’ve yet to encounter this, but mainly because not too many poeple have said much to me about my business.
Were people supportive of you when you went out on your own?
Yes, I think so. I had the idea and asked a few close firends, especially my fiance, and everyonethought I would be great at it, including my mentor dog trainer.
How would your clients describe you?
Committed and passionate aobut their success with their dogs.
What has been your most favorite project to date?
Going from traditional private dog training to online dog training with my signature course, ‘From Fearful Fido to Confident Canine”.
What is one random fact about you that you would like people to know?
I was an attorney turned educator (elementary school teacher then college lecturer) turned part time dog trainer! I also am active in the rescue world of dogs! OK, that’s two random facts!
You can find Loretta and Polite Pups Academy, LLC here: